Winter is finally here, and it’s the season millions have been waiting for.
For eight years, HBO gave life to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and fans worldwide fell in love with the blood-spattered series Game of Thrones. Since its premiere in 2011, the fantasy show has brought magic, zombies, war, and dragons to TV screens worldwide.
With its final season just a few months away, this medieval tale has its loyal fans eagerly awaiting what’s sure to be an epic conclusion. Who will sit on the Iron Throne when the series ends? Only time will tell.
Game of Thrones has amassed a major following over the years, with an army of millions at its back. The season seven finale attracted 16.5 million viewers in 2017—including those who watched it live when it aired and night-of streams—according to HBO. Fans pledge their undying allegiance to the noble Houses, throw wine- and ale-infused viewing parties for new episodes, and spend all their Gold Dragons on merchandise featuring their favorite characters.
Beyond the Wall
The reach of HBO’s smash-hit series goes far beyond the TV screen with a raft of licensed products that keep fans engaged with the brand all year long. From beer, wine, and spirits to collectible figures and apparel, Thronies can enjoy just about anything in the realm thanks to the geniuses at HBO and their licensing partners. According to HBO’s Vice President of Licensing and Retail Jeff Peters, creating Game of Thrones-branded products is all about extending the brand in natural, organic ways.
“Game of Thrones—with its deeply rich world, fascinating characters, and mind-blowing plots—affords us a luxury of options for our product portfolio,” Peters says. “It also hasn’t hurt to have a set of iconic house sigils to play with. They look great on everything.”
Stark, Targaryen, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, Tyrell, Arryn—the list of Great Houses in Westeros is quite extensive, and fans are loyal to each one. From mugs and coasters to T-shirts and flags to whiskey glasses, Game of Thrones fans will collect anything imaginable bearing the sigil of their favorite houses.
“We key in on each house’s attributes—their sigil, their motto, and their colors—and bring elements of each into the products we design. Many of our licensees are huge fans of the show and come to us with ideas fully formed and fitted neatly into place. It’s been fun watching that dynamic form over the years,” Peters says.
The Seven Kingdoms at Your Fingertips
Game of Thrones fans looking to flaunt their fandom are met with a curated selection of products on thinkgeek.com. The online retailer features everything for die-hard fans, such as a prop replica of Jon Snow’s sword Longclaw and direwolf plushies.
“What’s great about our selection is we have something to cover all the bases for fans, from casual to cosplayer,” says Dawn Henry, vice president of ThinkGeek. She attributes Game of Thrones’ success to its rich storytelling, citing that not only are fans still invested after seven seasons, but they are also still tuning in live when the episodes air, a behavioral anomaly in today’s world.
In addition to ThinkGeek, fans can head to the HBO online shop to find more than two dozen pages of Thrones gear. Want all of the Stark direwolves’ names on a T-shirt? It can be yours. A set of copper mugs that read “Khaleesi”? You got ’em. Tankards and goblets featuring dragons and lions? Check.
Drink and Know Things
If there’s one thing Game of Thrones has, it’s copious amounts of wine. And ale. And whatever it is they drink north of the wall. HBO partnered with Vintage Wine Estates for a line of officially licensed wines and Ommegang Brewery for branded beers, including King in the North, a special brew inspired by Jon Snow. According to Peters, the beer, wine, and spirits are among the brand’s most successful licensed products. New partnerships include Johnnie Walker for White Walker Blended Scotch Whisky and a collection of eight Single Malt Scotch Whiskies from Diageo, including a special black bottle named after the Night’s Watch.
Collectibles are among the most popular products for Game of Thrones fans, from action figures to high-end prop replicas that run more than $200. But one collectible manufacturer stands out from the crowd. “In the collectible realm, we bend the knee to King Funko, first of his name and protector of the realm,” Peters says.
Funko consistently releases new Game of Thrones Funko Pop! Vinyls, so fans can collect new versions of their favorite characters, from the Lannisters to Daenerys’ dragons. And as the show evolves, so do the Pop! figures. The collectibles perfectly reflect each character, right down to their outfits, scars, and snow-covered hair once they’ve ventured to the snowy realm that lies beyond the wall.
The Night Is Dark and Full of Terrors
In addition to updated classics like Funko Pop! Vinyls and apparel, new Game of Thrones products releasing in 2019 will span several new product categories, making it a fun year for collectors.
“When it comes to Game of Thrones licensed products, fans can expect some amazing new collectibles and collaborations celebrating the final chapter to this amazing story! When it comes to the season itself, we’ll all just have to wait and see! You won’t get any spoilers from me (nice try, though!),” Peters says.
With very little information released on the final season, fans will have to wait until April to learn the fate of the seven kingdoms.
What Is Dead May Never Die
Even after Game of Thrones wraps, Westeros will live on. HBO already has a spin-off, which will take place before the events of Game of Thrones and star Naomi Watts, in the works. Reports say the new show won’t include the main characters fans already know and love—or hate—but we don’t have to say goodbye to Jon and Daenerys just yet.
According to Peters, new Game of Thrones products will be available at retail well beyond the show’s finale. “This I swear, by the Old Gods and the New. We plan to celebrate Game of Thrones through licensed products for many years to come,” he says.
The final season of Game of Thrones will air on Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. EST/PST, exclusively on HBO.
This article was originally published in the Pop Insider’s Winter 2019 Issue No. 2, click here to read more!